Author: Avon Gale
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: If you want to read some spectacular hockey romance, go grab these books!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.
Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences. Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.
Review: My love for this series is pretty immense. I realize we’re only two books in so far, but what Avon Gale has created here is fun, relatable, sweet, and sexy as hell. These guys are so real. Every scenario, every bit of dialogue, every chirp during a hockey game or practice, every family or team dynamic—all feel one hundred percent genuine, and like it could be someone you know. And, Riley and Ethan? Forget about it…there is NO way not to fall in love with these guys. We met them both in Breakaway, the Scoring Chances series debut, and I enjoyed them a ton, so getting to know them as the main characters in Save of the Game was a fantastic treat.
Riley is a quiet, enigmatic guy who, as a goalie, spends most of his time in the rink reading people’s body language, a talent that also serves him well off the ice. He’s particularly good at reading his teammate, and now new roommate, the boisterous Mr. Kennedy. I could go on and on about how much I love Riley. His heart is huge. Even before there is anything physical with Ethan, and even before there are “feelings” involved, all he wants is to make sure Ethan is happy and is able to get the things he wants. He wants to take care of him. But, with Riley’s family background and no real example of how to go about showing someone you care, he has trouble making his intentions clear—especially when Ethan is completely averse to accepting any kind of help. I also love the goalie mystique and everything that embodies. It’s so ingrained in Riley, his goalie persona is so much of who he is, and it’s so well-written. I believe it’s also in integral part of his kink, and why he’s so calming and centering. It’s captivating.
And then there is Ethan. Who I also love like nobody’s business. Ethan is basically Riley’s polar opposite. His family is loving and in-your-face, whereas Riley’s is cold and distant. He is not disciplined on the ice, or in his training. He is all boundless energy and loudness, where Riley is a sea of tranquility. The trait he definitely shares with Riley, though, is the size of his heart. He loves working with the kids at the hockey camp he helps at for the Storm, his mom and sisters mean everything to him, and he wants to give Riley the one thing he sees Riley desperately needs, which is also the most important thing to Ethan…his family.
The story in Save of the Game is beautiful in its simplicity. While there is no real drama to speak of—just a bit of adulting and life stuff—there is still plenty of substance. It’s light without being uninspired. I love that about how Gale writes this series. This book deals with some meaty topics: Family neglect and abandonment, anger, and self-discovery to name a few…but, they are handled mainly with humor and love. Ethan and Riley both recognize a need in the other, and allow themselves the space to figure out what it all means. I absolutely loved the kink aspect to their relationship. It was prevalent, yet not overwhelming—this wasn’t a BDSM book after all—and, this bit killed me:
“Hey.” Ethan looked up at him, defiant and gorgeous, a fighter from the tip of his head to the soles of his Doc Martens. He braced his palms on Riley’s thighs. “I’m good with you calming me down with sex, Riley. Don’t question it. Trust me. Let me in.”
There are many sweet moments I could touch on…mainly moments between Ethan and Riley, but also moments between Ethan and Coach Spencer (their big talk toward the end of the book was one of my favorite scenes), Ethan and his mom, and Riley and his sister. But, I want to focus a little more on the humor and the hockey before wrapping up.
So much of this book really is just too hilarious. The dialogue is priceless, no matter who the conversations are between. Almost everyone in this book has a one-liner or some funny thing to say at some point, but the conversations between Ethan and Riles had me laughing out loud on many occasions. They’re just such GUYS. And, such hockey players! Even during sex. Not that I’ve hung around that many hockey players! But, Gale’s writing makes me believe that it’s spot-on. I felt like there was less actual time on the ice in this one, as opposed to the first book, but it’s still one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. I’m a fan, man.
Ok, I gotta run… I’m starting Power Play next, and I’m super excited about it! More to come on that…but if you want to read some spectacular hockey romance, go grab these books!
You can buy Save of the Game here: